In the late 1960s, efforts to advance the state-of-the-art in rotor systems technology indicated a significant gap existed between our ability to accurately predict the characteristics of a complex rotor system and the results obtained through flight verification. Even full scale wind tunnel efforts proved inaccurate because of the complex nature of a rotating, maneuvering rotor system. The key element missing, which prevented significant advances, was our inability to precisely measure the exact rotor state as a function of time and flight condition. Two Rotor Research Aircraft (RSRA) were designed as pure research aircraft and dedicated rotor test vehicles whose function is to fill the gap between theory, wind tunnel testing, and flight verification. The two aircraft, the development of the piloting techniques required to safely fly the compound helicopter, the government flight testing accomplished to date, and proposed future research programs.